The weekend and beyond: Soccer, Metro delays, road work, summer driving tips


Traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is often problematic on warm-weather weekends, but Friday afternoons have been particularly bad lately. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

The Capital Weather Gang predicts a great Father’s Day weekend for local travelers, though there’s a chance of showers late Sunday. There is some road and rail work to watch out for, as well as a few traffic-generating events, including a D.C. United game in RFK Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.

HIGHLIGHTS: Metro weekend schedule | K Street closing | PurpleStride event | ZERO Prostate Cancer Run | Crystal City conversion | Summer drive tips | Next week

Metro weekend delays

This is the schedule of disruptions from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday.

Red Line. Free shuttle buses replace trains between Rhode Island Avenue and Forest Glen. The Brookland, Takoma and Silver Spring stations will be closed. Fort Totten station will be open for Green Line service only.
Trains will operate between Shady Grove and Rhode Island and between Forest Glen and Glenmont about every 10 minutes during the daytime, and about every 15 to 20 minutes at other times.

The shuttle buses will operate on limited-stop and local routes: The limited-stop buses will operate between Forest Glen and Rhode Island stations, with a stop at Silver Spring. Add about 40 minutes to normal travel time if going all the way. The local buses will stop at all the stations between Forest Glen and Rhode Island Avenue. Add about 10 minutes of travel time for each stop. (If you’re going from Brookland to Rhode Island Avenue, for example, add 10 minutes to your normal travel time. If you’re going from Fort Totten to Forest Glen, add about a half hour, since the bus will make three stops.)

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the last train from Glenmont to Forest Glen is scheduled to leave 53 minutes earlier than normal so it can connect with the shuttle buses. On Friday and Saturday nights, the last train will leave Glenmont at 1:44 a.m. On Sunday night, it will leave at 10:44 p.m.

Orange, Blue, Yellow, Green lines. Trains will operate every 20 minutes throughout the weekend. These are the areas where they will be sharing tracks around work zones: Between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road, between Cheverly and New Carrollton, and between Fort Totten and Prince George’s Plaza.

Yellow Line trains will operate between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square this weekend. Normally, they would continue north to Fort Totten. To go north of Mount Vernon Square this weekend, take a Green Line train.

Metro travel tip. Metro has done several things to make the disruptions less burdensome on weekend travelers. Because of the spacing between trains, riders are less likely to board trains and then experience delays through the single-tracking zones, as trains start and stop while waiting their turns to go through those areas. Under the new scheduling system, trains should not be delayed once they leave the platforms. (This is assuming the schedule holds, and isn’t disrupted by a train malfunction or a sick customer.)

Riders can check the weekend schedules for their routes by looking at Metro’s online Trip Planner. As of midday Friday, Trip Planner should have incorporated this service plan for this weekend, including the Red Line shuttle bus service.

One concern I have about this weekend’s schedule: the Saturday night soccer game at RFK. Last time there was a weekend game at RFK, when the U.S. National Team played on June 2, fans reported considerable congestion at the Stadium-Armory station, and they attributed that to the infrequency of Orange and Blue Line trains during a track work schedule similar to this weekend’s. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said rail supervisors will be at Stadium-Armory monitoring crowds, but the opportunity to add trains is quite limited. This weekend’s work zone includes Stadium-Armory and its side track, so there is no place to turn trains around. Stessel said it may be possible to add one extra train — as was done after the U.S. team’s game — but it won’t be possible to do much more than that.

Many of the exiting soccer fans are going to want an Orange Line train, rather than a Blue, Stessel said. He suggested that fans heading west get on the Blue Line train, to get away from the crowded platform at Stadium-Armory, then transfer to the Orange Line train at Rosslyn. At that point, both the trains and the station platform would be less crowded.

K Street closing

The District Department of Transportation plans to close the two westbound lanes on K Street NW near 22nd Street NW from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Eastbound K Street NW will remain open during the closing, which clears room for crews to repair the 22nd Street NW bridge over K Street. A detour will take westbound drivers to the service roadway, then halfway around Washington Circle, where they will merge onto the westbound service roadway and return to K Street.

Montana Avenue lane closings

Watch for lane closings on both sides of Montana Avenue NE between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue from Friday through June 28 for a paving project. At least one lane will be open to traffic in each direction.

PurpleStride Walk and Run
The PurpleStride 5K Walk and Run for pancreatic cancer assistance starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Freedom Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 13th and 14th streets. The nearest Metrorail stations are Federal Triangle and Metro Center. (Metro opens at 7 a.m. on weekends, and note the track work schedule above.)

Streets along the route are scheduled to be closed from 3 a.m. to about 1 p.m. See a pdf course map here.

ZERO Prostate Cancer Run

The  ZERO Prostate Cancer Run is scheduled for 8 a.m. (Kids Race) and 8:30 a.m. (four-miler) Sunday starting from the Shops of Pentagon Row, 1101 South Joyce St. in Arlington County. See a pdf course map here.

Metrobus routes 10A, 16G and 16P bus will need to detour around the course between 8 and 11 a.m. See more details on Metro’s Web site.

Crystal City Drive conversion

Starting this weekend, Crystal City Drive in Arlington County goes from one-way to two-way traffic between 23rd and 26the streets South. This is part of the county’s effort to improve traffic flow in Crystal City in conjunction with development and transportation plans. Watch for police in the area directing traffic and for new traffic signals as of 7 a.m. Saturday.

New speed camera

For weekenders and vacationers going to and from Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland: The Maryland State Highway Administration has begun a rehabilitation project on several bridges along Interstate 68 on the west side of Cumberland.

Driving the interstate through Cumberland is always difficult. There are plenty of signs warning motorists to slow down, but the work zone makes that more imperative. As an added incentive, speed-enforcement cameras will monitor eastbound traffic in the area. Through June 30, the cameras will issue only warnings. Starting July 1, vehicles going at least 12 miles over the 55 mph speed limit will be subject to $40 fines.

I-70 lane closings

Another trip for drivers heading west in Maryland: Watch for single-lane closings on Interstate 70 over the next few weeks while crews work on the I-70 bridges over Ashton and St. Paul roads west of Hagerstown. The work is scheduled to be done by June 30.

Working on one lane at a time, crews will remove the existing blacktop surface, clean and patch the concrete, then place a polyester overlay material and allow it to cure. Because of the time required for the material to cure, each lane must be closed for 20 hours.

These extended closures will occur over the next three weekends. Motorists may expect closures on eastbound I-70 beginning at 9 p.m. on Fridays and on westbound I-70 beginning at 11 p.m. on Fridays. All lanes will reopen by 7 a.m. on Sundays. In addition, motorists should anticipate possible overnight lane closures on Monday through Thursday nights between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

When complete, the overlay will result in a smoother, safer driving surface and will extend the life of the bridges, saving money on future maintenance. Customers with questions about operations on I-70 or other State (numbered) roads in Washington County may call SHA’s District 7 Office at 301-729-8400 or toll-free at 800-760-7138.

Bay Bridge best times

Several recent Friday afternoons have been especially problematic for eastbound traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, because of wind warnings that have restricted operations. In general, the best travel times for summer weekend getaways are Thursdays and Fridays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.; Saturdays before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.; and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m. The regular car toll for the bridge is $4, paid eastbound. On July 1, it will rise to $6.

New lane markings and rumble strips have been installed on the westbound span. Lane changes between the left and center lanes are prohibited for the entire span. See the Bay Bridge Web site for up to date traffic information.

Upcoming  . . .

Ride to Work. Commuters may see more motorcycles and scooters on their way to work Monday. It’s their annual Ride to Work Day.

D.C. Circulator. On Tuesday, the District Department of Transportation plans to host another of its semi-annual forums to discuss the D.C. Circulator bus system. This one is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, First Floor Lounge, 1501 14th St. NW, near Logan Circle. These are informal sessions where people can ask questions about the current and future city bus system and offer suggestions about improvements or alternative routes.

Rockville Pike crossing. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will host a meeting Tuesday to discuss the plan for a pedestrian and biker tunnel under Rockville Pike between the Medical Center Metro station and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The 7:30 p.m. session will be held at the BCC Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, near the Bethesda Metro station. The $68 million project will be funded by the federal government, because it is meant to help ease the extra travel generated by the federal base realignment program at the medical center. Work will include construction of the tunnel, new entrances to the Medical Center station on the Red Line and a bank of underground elevators.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Dana Hedgpeth · June 13, 2013